A potential bombshell struck the presidential campaign on Tuesday when it was revealed that candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns were discovered hidden in the Cayman Islands.
The documents indicate that Romney not only paid no federal income taxes over the last 20 years, he also acquired his vast wealth in part through piracy in the Caribbean.
Although Romney’s father, George Romney, released 12 years of taxes when he ran for president, the Republican nominee has refused on the grounds that it might cause voters to like him even less.
The documents were discovered last week by a British couple on vacation, but made available to reporters after being authenticated by experts. The couple found the documents inside a chest, buried within a cave on the island of Grand Cayman.
“No one must of thought of using a metal detector inside a cave before, either that or the chest hadn’t been buried for very long but it was considerably old,” said Charles Wettix of London, who found the documents. “At first I thought it would contain pieces of eight or maybe diamonds.”
Portions of the documents were made available to a handful of reporters. They indicate that during the 1960s, when a young Mitt Romney was supposedly a missionary in France, he was actually captain of the 12-gun frigate “Joseph Smith’s Revenge” that sailed the Caribbean looting and pillaging.
It was apparently this money that Romney used in founding his venture capital firm, Bain Capital, later on in life.
“Sneaky Pete” Brigand was first mate aboard the vessel for perhaps three years, although he wasn’t exactly sure of the timeframe. As proof of his connection to Romney, Brigand rolled up his tattered sleeve and displayed a crude pirate tattoo that appeared to be the face of a young Mitt Romney, with a skull and crossbones set upon a pair of golden tablets.
Brigand said Romney required the tattoos of all his crew as a way of securing loyalty, reasoning that none of them would be able to find work on another ship with that kind of display on their arm.
“Arrrrgh, that was the boringest vessel I ever sailed,” Brigand said. “No grog allowed, not a single drop! Any scurvy dog that took it aboard was punished not with a keelhaul or a lashing, he had to listen to Captain Romney read from the book of Mormon. I’d of walked the plank meself if pirating jobs hadn’t been so few in them days.”
In an indication of things to come, Brigand said Romney rejected the pirate custom of dividing their plunder equally among the crew.
“That Romney said since we did all the work, he should get all the loot. Kept it all for hisself he did,” Brigand said. “We all cursed his name for that and he tried to convert us, kept promising us a big reward later on. I sailed with that scurvy dog for many a day. The crew finally got up the courage to demand our equal pay, so Romney sold the boat to someone in China. We even had to sail it over to Shanghai, then row ourselves back when Romney took off with all the treasure and whatever he sold the ship for.”
Democrats were quick to pounce on the news. David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said it demonstrated that Romney’s claims of knowing how to create jobs were false.
“Being a pirate is just like Gov. Romney’s days at Bain Capital, looting from other people and not really making anything,” Axelrod said. “I’d also point out that Mitt Romney was supporting the Vietnam War at that time and while he thought military service was just fine for other people, he was too busy getting rich and taking from others to sign up.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul would not confirm the authenticity of the documents, but said the chest was an old Romney family heirloom and they’d like it back.
“If Mitt Romney was in fact sailing the seven seas that just shows he was a job creator. Look, he had a payroll to meet and an unruly crew to contend with. It takes real leadership to survive as a pirate in the modern era,” Saul said. “It would also demonstrate that Gov. Romney has real, first-hand knowledge of international affairs. I saw all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and let me tell you, Gov. Romney has told me it’s not as glamorous as you might think.”